A recent study conducted by the American Association of Medical Colleges came up with a shocking discovery. Many Primary Care Physicians today are recommending careers in medicine – but not as physicians. The survey instead states that many of these primary care physicians, dissatisfied with their current positions, would recommend a career as a Nurse Practitioner to a qualified college student but would not recommend a career as a physician. This is in spite of the widespread knowledge among respondents of a Primary Care physician shortage. Primary Care Nurse Practitioners on the other hand overwhelmingly reported a high degree of satisfaction with their positions, with 88% stating they would recommend a career as a Nurse Practitioner. 

 

So how can we use this data to improve our Primary Care Physician recruitment & Retention? Below are three things that influence the satisfaction of Nurse Practitioners – and how you can use them to attract top physician talent.

 

1. Providers Like a Patient Centered Approach to Care

The training of Nurse Practitioners often takes a different approach than that of physicians, with NP’s emphasizing a patient centered approach to care. This approach to primary care has become more common with the use and growth of patient centered medical home models. The patient centered medical home model of care has grown immensely since 2007, with over 5,700 practices registered as such with the NCQA. With this model of care, emphasis is placed on care coordination, a team based approach, and improving the quality of care. Not only does this improve the quality of care provided to patients, but various studies have shown that well functioning teams that work efficiently and provide quality improvements are more staisfied.

 

Take away: If your practice is a certified Patient Centered Medical Home, or incorporates PCMH practices, advertise it!

 

 

2. Providers Are Happier When They Have Manageable Hours

 

The study shows that even though Nurse Practitioners have less autonomy on the job and are paid less than physicians, they still report higher levels of job satisfaction. The key to this may be in the hours – Nurse Practitioners report working fewer hours than physicians, giving them more time to spend with family or pursuing hobbies. This is reinforced by the emphasis placed on work-life balance by many younger physicians who are not keen to sacrifice time with family and friends to take call.

 

Take Away: If your practice offers family friendly hours, light to no call, or flex time or part time opportunities, advertise it! Physicians will appreciate knowing that their worklife balance is valued by you.

 

 

3. Providers Want to Spend More Time With Their Patients

It’s been well documented that the average nurse spends far more time with patients than the average physician. By doing so, nurses are able to establish a strong relationship with patients and impact overall patient satisfaction. While physicians spend less time on average with patients, it is often due to forces outside of their control rather than a lack of desire to do so. In fact, many primary care physicians chose to go into primary care due in large part to the perceived relationship building that goes on between physician and patient over the course of their life. 

 

Take away: Concierge medicine models and smaller patient panels give physicians the flexibility to spend more time with patients. If your practice offers this type of opportunity, advertise it!

 

 

Conclusion:

  • The use of PCMH practices in an opportunity is highly attractive to many primary care physicians
  • Flex time, part time, and low to no call schedules are key to providing physicians with the work-life balance they crave
  • Allowing primary care physicians more time with patients improves the satisfaction of both patient and physician